Roland Turner

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Unifying the phone and the PC: Ubuntu Edge, the "F1" of mobile phones

I've been looking forward to Ubuntu Phone since it was announced. The phone is a conventional Android phone until you connect a keyboard, screen and mouse to it, at which point it becomes a conventional Ubuntu Desktop, with the apps on both sides tweaked to share data with each other of course. I find the idea of having all phone/tablet/PC data and apps on the phone pretty compelling, indeed my purchase of an Asus PadFone2 was inspired by this idea. Although the latter only unifies the data on tablet and phone, it is a step in the right direction.

Canonical has discovered that phone vendors don't in fact want to take large leaps, at least not this large, so implementing this vision requires coming up with a large amount of money themselves to develop, market and deliver a device to run Ubuntu Phone which means crowdfunding! Obviously. Canonical has budgeted $32M, which is crowd-funding at a multiple of the largest projects previously attempted (e.g. Pebble at ~$10M). I've backed it to the tune of one unit ($830), here's hoping that they succeed.

I do like the argument that Shuttleworth makes about the F1 parallel, that there is nowhere to push high-cost development like this in mobile phone technology. I'm not sure that I believe him, but it's an appealing idea.